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Well I was wondering what you might think of a select box inside of a search bar. As long as the text doesn't go underneath the box I think it looks really cool.

Example: http://i.stack.imgur.com/ue25B.png

This belongs to a hosting site i'm coding atm. But a friend said that every other hosting site has it outside the bar and next to the button and we should do it like them.

I don't know, I just like to do different then what everyone else does. What do you think?

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2 Answers 2

There's a famous book called Don't Make Me Think: A Common Sense Approach to Web Usability, which explains how making your users think (even for a second) might cause them frustration with your site, impend usability, etc.

Users expect such a common control to look in a certain way and if it doesn't they'll get frustrated. Think about cars - you can step into practically any car and drive it, since all the key controls are very much the same - everything is predictable and expected, which is a very good thing.

BTW - have you thought what happens if the user tries to input a very long name? In your control, it looks like the text will be either hidden by the drop box or overlay above it, neither of which is good. If on the other hand the text box and the drop box are separate, you won't get that problem (the text will simply auto-scroll horizontally).

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So your two reasons for designing the UI this way are "it looks cool" and "it's different than what everyone else does"?

In that case, my answer would be: I don't think those are good reasons to design a UI a certain way. When creating user interfaces, one of the most important things to remember is that you're not designing for yourself, but for your end users.

That means you should find out what people visiting your site expect, understand, and have used before. So, for example, do a usability test with some of your users where you observe them using a competitor's site that places the select box outside of the search field, and then observe users using your design. See which one works better (there may be no difference, as this is a pretty small piece of UI).

But overall, keep in mind that "it looks cool" and "I like to be different" won't get you taken seriously as a UI designer. Most times, you need to have facts to back up your argument. Usage data or metrics are a good start.

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